Thursday, September 15, 2011

Thursday Morning Links

This and that for your Thursday reading.

- Dan Gardner makes the case (with which I wholeheartedly agree) as to the importance of making thoughtful decisions at the best of times:
If there is one lesson we must learn from 9/11 and the decade that followed it is that the future will not unfold as expected, which is why the choices politicians and voters make when times are good are every bit as important as when things go to hell. Perhaps more so.

That's something few of us understood in 2000. I certainly didn't.
(T)he campaign of 2000 was about an urgent question: Would Americans use their good fortune to prepare for future downturns, shocks, and disasters?

That's what Gore's plan would have done. His "lockbox" would prepare for the predictable challenge of population aging, while paying down debt would ensure that the United States would always have the fiscal strength to respond to unpredictable emergencies.

But Gore did not become president. And the United States did not use the good times to prepare for the bad.

This lesson isn't needed now, in this era of deficits and stagnation. But, with a little luck, this time will pass. One day we may once again wonder what to do with our surpluses and abundant good fortune.

I hope we remember.
- Meanwhile, Paul Krugman points out that even before the U.S. hit an official recession, a decade of corporatist policies had resulted in declining standards of living for a substantial portion of its population.

- Frances Russell points out the lack of any coherent ethics behind the push for "ethical oil".

- But lest we assume we can't do anything about our current dependence on non-renewable resources, Margaret Munro points out the massive potential to develop geothermal energy in Canada - at least, it if received even a fraction of the funding and attention lavished on the oil industry.

- But it seems it'll take a few more attention-grabbing devices to get us pointed in anything approaching the right direction. And a few more exposes on the dishonesty of the oil lobby couldn't hurt either.

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